Signs & Symptoms of Allergies in Bulldogs

(Image: "Westwood Memorial Day Parade" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Paul Keleher (Paul Keleher) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Bulldogs develop allergies due to hypersensitivities within the immune system, making their skin swollen and reactive, and causing inflammation in their nasal passages and airways. Bulldogs exhibit an array of visible symptoms and behavioral signs when in contact with a trigger, alerting owners to potential canine allergies.


Bulldogs are known to develop allergies that can lead to chronic symptoms causing discomfort, self-mutilating behaviors and infections if left untreated. Infections caused by allergies affect the skin, ears and immune system, resulting in decreased energy levels, loss of appetite and general malaise. Owners can prevent and treat bulldog allergies through precautionary strategies and treatments, increasing the quality of life for pets.


Bulldogs are prone to developing contact and atopic allergies to food-based, environmental and chemical triggers. Contact allergies occur through direct skin contact, whereas atopic dermatitis allergies result from ingestion or inhalation, without direct skin contact. Immunoglobulin (IgE) antibody responses cause the epidermis to swell in both cases, resulting in eczema; hives; dry, flaky skin; rashes; biting; and paw licking. Topical antihistamines provide short-term relief, whereas oral antihistamines, allergy shots and limited exposure provide extended comfort.


Bulldog food allergies are identified by symptoms of skin irritation, with signs of persistent scratching around the face, neck and ears. Food allergies develop through increased exposure to byproducts, compound proteins and grains, generally taking years of consumption before causing reactions. Simple protein and simple carbohydrate mixtures such as natural fish and sweet potato formulas that do not contain animal byproducts, additives and artificial flavorings provide beneficial dietary changes for allergic and chemical-sensitized bulldogs.


Bulldogs inhale environmental triggers such as pollen, mold, dust and chemical fumes through the eyes, nose and mouth, causing allergic rhinitis symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, congestion, wheezing and constricted breathing. Ear infections may develop due to excess fluid clogging the Eustachian tubes leading to the middle ear, and are signaled by ear scratching and redness inside the ears. Treatments include oral antihistamines for allergies, air purifiers, vaporizers and antibiotics for ear infections.


Bulldogs with flea allergies bite the underbelly, rear and paws profusely due to intense itching caused by a reaction to flea saliva. Visible signs of flea allergies include: pimple-like bumps, rashes and patches of hair loss. Flea allergies are prevented by monthly applications of Frontline or Advantage, flea collars, regular bathing, grooming and frequent cleaning of dog bedding, carpets and furniture. Flea allergy symptoms may be alleviated with topical and oral antihistamine sprays and ointments.

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